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Original Confession header art

The Confession Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Confession

"I make this confession of my own free will because it is true. There has not been any force or violence used upon my person to induce me to make these statements. Without promise of immunity or reward or gratuity I confess."

The above was the 'freely given' confession preamble to the true Confessions that served as the backdrop to this short, Summer 1953 series of the same name, that aired over NBC. NBC framed the production as a public interest program:

"These true tragedies are brought to you each week as an NBC Radio Network production, in an effort to stem the Nation's forward March of Crime."

In actual practice, though these dramatized crime biographies were certainly cautionary tales in their own right, NBC's representation of presenting them in the public interest rings a bit hollow. They were more in the vein of the already wildly popular Dragnet series, or the Night Watch series that followed soon after. Indeed, upon completing the Night Watch run, the production team envisioned a spin-off titled 'Police Recorder' that would be a virtual clone of NBC's Confession.

Series Derivatives:

Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Crime Dramatizations
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 53-07-05 01 Case 10.101 - 'Doris Kane'
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 53-07-05 to 53-09-13; NBC; Eleven, 30-minute programs; Sundays, 9:30 p.m.
Syndication: NBC Orthacoustic
Sponsors: Presented in cooperation with the California State Department of Corrections
Director(s): Homer Canfield
Principal Actors:
Paul Frees, Joyce McCluskey, Virginia Gregg, Sam Edwards, Stacy Harris, Marvin Miller, Joel Davis, Les Tremayne, Alice Reinheart, George Pirrone, Charlotte Lawrence, Vivi Janis, James Edwards, Jester Hairston, Jay Loughlin, Jonathan Hole, Mady Norman, Jack Moyles, Peter Leeds, Charles Smith, Parley Baer, Jack Carroll, Barney Philips, Don Diamond, Virginia Christine, Herb Butterfield, Lamont Johnson, Jack Kruschen, Helen Kleeb, Eddie Firestone, Gloria Grant, John Crawford, Lurene Tuttle, Gerald Mohr, Dan Riss, Eve McVeigh, Tony Barrett, Warren Stevens, John McIntyre
Recurring Character(s): Paul Frees as the 'interviewer'
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Unknown
Writer(s) Lou Rusoff, Don Brinkley
Warren Lewis [Script Supervisor]
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Michael Somogyi on the cymbalum
Announcer(s): John Wald
Estimated Scripts or
Episodes in Circulation: 10
Total Episodes in Collection: 10

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
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The Confession Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
Case 10.101 - 'Doris Kane'
53-07-01 Wisconsin State Journal
Homer Canfield, who first put "Dragnet" on the air has a new anti-crime series "Confession," starting Sunday on NBC.

53-07-05 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA): new program, with "first-person singular" stories of actual crimes.
Case 10.102 - 'Martin Everett'
53-07-12 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA): multiple murderer tells his story.

53-07-12 Long Beach Independent
Many persons have asked what musical instrument is used for the backgrounding of "Confession" on KFI at 6:30 p.m. It is a cymbalum, an ancient instrument. The cymbalum has been seen and heard on TV's "Roberta Linn" show many times locally.
Tonight, a man who has served sentences for several murders relates his story.
Case 10.103 - 'Anna Carlsen'
53-07-19 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA): "The Case of Anna Carlsen."

53-07-19 Sunday Times Signal
     CONFESSION:  New series heard at 9:30 Sunday eve on WHIZ-NBC is "Confession."  Tonight you will hear Case No. 10.103 in the Corona Calif. Institute for Women.  It's the true story of the life of a psychopathic 36 year old woman who always got what she wanted through the use of temper tantrums and hysterics.
NOTE TO WIVES:  Please listen to this tonight.

     CONFESSION about confession:  "What is that musical instrument?" was the question asked about the background on the first "Confession" program last Sunday night.  It is a cymbalum, one of the most ancient of stringed instruments, which pre-dated the piano and even the clavichord.  And if you think the name of the instrument is odd...take a look at the name of the man who plays it...Michael Somogyi.
Case 10.104 - 'James W Hardis'
53-07-26 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA): Unexpected development leads to uncovering carefully planned robbery of supermarket.

53-07-26 Zanesville Signal
CASE 10104: "Confession" (WHIZ-NBC Suns 9:30 p.m.) tonight tells the story of a man who had never been able to hold a job; who, in fact, never really wanted to work. Married and father of one child, he falls deeply in debt and then decides to rob a supermarket of $60,000. The crime is perfectly planned and executed, but an unexpected development leads to his trail and arrest.

Case 10.105 - 'Esther Phillips'

53-08-02 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.106 - 'Peter W Greer'
53-08-09 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.107 - 'George S Decker'
53-08-16 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.108 - 'James V Madsen'
53-08-23 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.109 - 'Leo J Fowler'
53-08-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.110 - 'George S Andress'
53-09-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)
Case 10.111 - 'Roger S Chapman'
53-09-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Confession (WIBA)

The Confession Radio Program Biographies

Paul Frees [Solomon Hersh Frees]

Stage, Screen, Television, and Radio Actor, Composer, Songwriter, Voiceover Artist, Director, and Author

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.


Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA


1945 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 Maxwell House coffee Time
1946 Rogue's Gallery
1946 The Whistler
1946 The Casebook Of Gregory Hood
1946 The Alan Young Show
1946 Suspense
1947 Escape
1947 The Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Ellery Queen
1948 Studio X
1948 The Player
1948 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Family Theatre
1948 Let George Do It
1948 The Eternal Light
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Railroad Hour
1949 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Prowl Car
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 The Prudential Family Hour Of Stars
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Special Care Program
1949 Box 13
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Croupier
1949 California Caravan
1949 Crime Correspondent
1950 T-Man
1950 A Day In the Life Of Dennis Day
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 The Line-Up
1950 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 This Is Your F.B.I.
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 The Adventures Of the Saint
1951 Short Story
1951 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1951 Night Beat
1951 The Whisperer
1951 Romance
1951 Wild Bill Hickok
1951 Mr Aladdin
1951 Broadway Is My Beat
1951 This Is the story
1951 The Silent Men
1952 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1952 The Black Book
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 I Confess
1953 Gunsmoke
1953 On Stage
1953 Confession
1953 Crime Classics
1953 Mr President
1954 That's Rich
1954 The Edgar Bergen Show
1954 Rocky Fortune
1954 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1956 NBC Radio Theatre
1956 You Were There
1956 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1956 Those Young Bryans
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Heartbeat Theatre

Paul Frees, ca. 1952
Paul Frees, ca. 1952

Paul Frees, ca. 1949
Paul Frees, ca. 1949

Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953
Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953

Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)
Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)

Paul Frees, ca. 1975
Paul Frees, ca. 1975

Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978
Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978

Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)
Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)

Count the ways to measure Multimedia genius, then double it, and you have Paul Frees. Several famous voice artists have been tagged "The Man of A Thousand Voices." During his ambitious, but brief career, Frank Graham was dubbed the same before his suicide death in 1950. Mel Blanc held that moniker for years. The late, great Don La Fontaine was another worthy recipient. But with all due respect to those other great voice artists, I'm sure all would agree that Paul Frees remains rightful recipient of the tribute. Paul Frees is one of the top ten most memorable, often heard, and hardest working voice talents of the 20th Century.

Chicago-born Frees [birth name, Solomon Hersh Frees], was drafted into the Army during World War II, participating in the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. He was wounded in action and returned stateside for rest and recovery for just over a year. Upon obtaining his discharge, he began taking classes at The Chouinard Art Institute in downtown Los Angeles under his G.I. Bill. But his studies were curtailed
when his first wife's failing health forced him to drop out and try his hand at Radio work.

He appeared frequently on the A-List Radio programs of the 1940s, including Lux Radio Theatre, Rogue's Gallery, The Whistler, Suspense, Escape radio series, including Escape, Ellery Queen, The First Nighter, Family Theatre, and NBC University Theatre. His first solo outing was as The Player (1948) with Frees both narrating and playing all of the parts. He alternated with William Conrad as the 'voice' of Suspense. His second solo outing was as Jethro Dumont in The Green Lama (1949), a summer replacement program. He followed that with a starring role in Crime Correspondent (1949). He also starred in The Croupier (1949).

Frees' contribution to radio noir was a perfect match for his range of voices. He appeared regularly in most of the detective genre dramas of the 1940s. Throughout the 1950s he was heard voicing regular or recurring roles in Gunsmoke (1953), Crime Classics (1953), This Is Your FBI (1950), and two prestigious network classics, Hallmark Hall of Fame (1954) and CBS Radio Workshop (1957). Frees' radiography in the RadioGOLDIndex is one of the longest in its database. But Radio was only the tip of the iceberg in Frees' storied career.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) cites over 370 entries for him, in Film, Television, and Animation. A college study once determined that so ubiquitous was Paul Frees voicework during the 1960s and 1970s, that there was literally not one day of Television or Radio during that period in which Paul Frees' voice was not heard.

Frees spent much of the second half of his career working with an unprecedented nine of the major animation production companies of the 20th century: Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studios, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, MGM Studios, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Jay Ward Productions and Rankin/Bass. His work with the Walt Disney Studios led to a long collaboration with them, from voicing animated characters to recordings that brought some of the most compelling attractions at both Disneyland and Disney World to life.

His long association with Jay Ward Productions is most remembered for his narration of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, with William Conrad, and performing the voice of Boris Badenov, and multiple other characters. Accompanied by famous female voice talent, June Foray, their voices formed the very core of most of the Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes.

There is simply not enough space in this format to adequately recount Frees' body of work. Fortunately the vast majority of his work is still available through Golden Age Radio and Television recordings. Frees passed away unexpectedly in 1986, at his palacial Tiburon home overlooking San Francisco--from a massive heart failure. He requested that his ashes be scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Anyone knowledgeable of 20th Century mass communications would unquestionably cite Paul Frees as one of the top ten voices over any medium from the era, perhaps even one of the top five. We'd certainly have to concur with either assessment.

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